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Frontage Road Construction Update

Good morning, Frenchtown Neighbors.

First, on behalf of the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), we would like to thank you for being so actively involved in the Huson East project, where our crews are in the process of finalizing reconstruction of the Frenchtown Frontage Road. As you know well, this has been an in-depth endeavor and we aren’t quite done yet. We will be back in the full construction swing of things come spring. We will continue to keep you updated as work progresses.

That said, we do have a solidified work plan to address the Roman Creek Road approach off of the Frontage Road.

  1.    Crews will be paving and placing some additional gravel on the eastern edge of Roman Creek Road, where those turning right on to Roman Creek from the Frontage Road will have a level surface on which to over-track, should larger vehicles or trailers need that room. This may also necessitate roadway striping. When we met with residents at this location in November, this area was of top concern. We are happy to share that these concerns will be addressed. Our team is still in the process of coordinating these efforts with the contractors. As we better know that timing, we look forward to sharing it with you.

  2.    The power pole guy wire will need to be relocated by Montana Electric Cooperative, which may result in the need for a larger glue-lam power pole. MDT is currently collaborating with our utility partners to decide on and implement the best and most cost-effective option. 

  3.    The project team is also in the process of reviewing drainage east of the approach near the shared-use path. Spring thaws will truly demonstrate where we may or may not see specific issues. This area will be re-evaluated in warmer weather and may be corrected depending upon the severity we see this spring.

One additional point that has been brought up to us several times. The goal of this project, as shared by residents, is to create a safer roadway system. Some feel as though lowering the speed limit would better accomplish this goal. As a reminder, MDT does not set the speed limits on the Frenchtown Frontage Road. If you would like to request a lower speed limit in specific locations, we would direct you to work with the West Valley Community Council and contact the Missoula County Commissioners’ Office to request the Commissioners send a letter to MDT to perform a speed zone study. We have shared these concerns with the Commissioners, and they have been made aware that a request from the community may be coming.

We look forward to finalizing the Huson East project later this spring. Until that time, residents may continue to see excavation work and haul trucks working near the Irrigation Ditch. Beyond these efforts, cold and wet weather is not conducive to productive paving efforts. As a result, there are still outstanding sections to be paved in various areas across the 11-miles of the project. This includes private approaches and a few remaining miles of the shared-use path which will have to be paved in the coming months.

Additional work this spring will include a chip seal, final striping, and plantings, seedings, and landscaping. All outreach efforts for the project to alert area residents of pending construction will resume in the spring as schedules are set.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this update or if you would like to share your thoughts with us.

Best,

Katie Klietz 

Big Sky Public Relations on behalf of the Montana Department of Transportation 

(406) 207-4484